Sydney wetlands, pectoral SP and lots of stilts, no raptors

To: birdingaus <>
Subject: Sydney wetlands, pectoral SP and lots of stilts, no raptors
From: "Evan Beaver" <>
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 07:16:25 +1000
Good morning all birders,

Graham and I had a pretty good look through a few wet, birdy places around
Sydney and made a pretty good day of it. It could have gone either way as I
was moving very slowly, not long back from a little hospitalisation. So with
a sore shoulder and still heavily under the influence of something called
midazolam we headed down to Mason Park near Bicentennial Park in Homebush,
Sydney. To prove that I wasn't feeling my sharpest it took me 10 minutes to
eventually misidentify a male chestnut teal in full breeding plumage that
was virtually sitting in the carpark. I knew I recognised it, I just
couldn't recall the name. Could be a long day.

Sharpened by coffee we circumnavigated the pond checking out the waterbirds.
Many Chestnut teal were seen, maybe 40-50, we weren't watching them very
carefully. Half a dozen Grey teal. Black-Winged (I much prefer Pied) Stilts
were abundant, again not counted but somewhere near 150-200, possibly more.
They were yapping and carrying on like aqautic cockatoos. A few
Black-Fronted Dotterel ran back and forth along the banks and also took to
the air quite frequently. In the middle of the lake, near the South? end
(opposite bank from the carpark) were 7 Sharpies, which was good to see.
Sneaking around behind them was another darker, slightly smaller sandpiper,
just a little bit different. It was closely following Edwin Vellas famous
'little bit different' theory. 10% smaller, more orange legs, and notably
bolder plumage down the back were all I could pick out with the bins as I
couldn't hold them up for more than about 10 seconds. Alistair and the
arrival of a scope made it much more obvious. Pectoral Sandpiper it was,
which was good news for most of us.

A quick turn around the other lakes bought great looks at the Reed Warbler
(I was right after all), all 4 of the cormorants and darter, Brown
Honeyeater for me and a Great Egret, identified from a long way away. No
Terns on any of the water structures and not many other waders. 9 Avocet
were seen on the north pond near the hide which was otherwise quiet. With
that we moved on.

Out to McGraths hill to have a look for a recent Wood Sandpiper. None were
forthcoming. Again, MH was fairly quiet, possibly because it was now in the
heat of the afternoon. Further onward to a little dam north of Pughs Lagoon
where we've previously seen Pink Ears and Hard Heads. The Zebra Ducks were
still there (x2) and a pair of Aussie Shoveller, another bird I wanted. A
quick turn around Pughs Lagoon turned up nothing of real interest, apart
from the odd hybrid Mallardy-Goosish thing. Notably absent through out the
day were raptors, just a single Nankeen Kestrel seen on a power line near
Penrith. The Miners were quite alarmed at BP, but the closest bird to a
raptor were the Ravens. Has anyone recorded raptors over/in BP?

4 new birds for me for the day, steaming along to 241.

Evan Beaver
Lapstone, Blue Mountains, NSW
lat=-33.77, lon=150.64

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